“Love her, but leave her wild” – Atticus
I have loved that quote, long before I met Mr Wild (and became Mrs Wild) – the sense of freedom it promises in a kind of love that does not impose itself upon another… well, I am pretty sure I am not the only person to want to be loved in such a way.
I’ve begun reading a book, “Boundaries in Marriage” by Dr’s Henry Cloud and John Townsend. Wow. I love it when Holy Spirit brings a seasonal word for a timely revelation! I’ve always had fairly negative associations when it came to the concept of Boundaries – either it was a restriction enforced upon you by another, or it felt like a selfish and manipulative way to gain control… both are so dangerous and well, untrue. Boundaries are important in all relationships, and especially within the context of marriage. Yes, in a spiritual sense, we become one person, but in reality we are still two individuals carving a life together. Boundaries protect our individuality while nurturing our relationship.
After two evenings of eye-opening revelation, this is what I have learnt –
Boundaries require Ownership. We each need to take ownership of our own thoughts, attitudes, feelings, words and behaviour. They’re ours. A sign of a healthy, mature person is their ability to ‘own’ both their triumphs and their mistakes – not to blame others or find excuses, but simply ‘own it’. (And what I had to learn is I cannot ‘own’ my husband’s thoughts, feelings, attitudes, actions… nor could I change them.)
Boundaries create Freedom (and Responsibility). As Christians, we have been Redeemed by Jesus’ blood and have been free’ed from the power of sin and death. We are called to live lives that testify of His freedom. Boundaries protect that freedom and remind us to continually remove any thought, habit, attitude (etc) that infringes upon or denies both our own and our partner’s freedom. We have a Responsibility to protect the Freedom Jesus has given us. What I learnt was that I do not need to take Responsibility for my husband’s choices or actions – and I also do not need to allow his choices or actions to infringe upon my Freedom in Christ. I am not a victim of his choices or actions. While he will face the consequences of his choices, I can choose whether I allow them to impact me. It may be my responsibility to lovingly bring fears/ lies/ inappropriate thoughts or actions into the light – but it is not my responsibility to change them. That’s between him and Holy Spirit.
Boundaries allow us to Love, freely. Because we take ownership of our selves, and continually seek to dwell in the Freedom found in Jesus, we have an amazing ability to ‘Love, Regardless’ – loving the other person regardless of how they love us back; loving the other person regardless of their attitudes/ actions being worthy of love… we don’t become doormats. Rather, by being seated in Heavenly places with Christ, we can freely extend Love and Compasssion and Grace without needing to have it returned in the same measure.
There’s a Liberty that comes when we walk closely in Jesus’ presence. And this liberty only evokes a greater understanding of the need to take Ownership, fight for our Freedom, and consequently extend deeper Love… its a cycle that draws two people into a greater depth of relationship. Boundaries allow for this to happen.
Boundaries are becoming my new favourite ‘thing’ – created within a pure heart, seeking God’s best for our relationship.
“Create a new, clean heart within me.[a]
Fill me with pure thoughts and holy desires, ready to please you.” – Psalm 51:10 TPT
“23 God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart.
Examine me through and through;
find out everything that may be hidden within me.
Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.
24 See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on,
and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways—
the path that brings me back to you.” – Psalm 139: 23-24 TPT